Yuhan Kao
May 2021
UCLA Health
Los Angeles
United States




Yuhan's compassion for her patients and their families remained strong through this time.
No one could have expected the challenges that 2020 brought us as health care providers. Although there were many nurse leaders who helped guide us through the pandemic, Yuhan did so with such selflessness, calmness, and drive inspiring the nursing practice of countless nurses across the system. Without her presence and dedication to promote knowledge, evidence-based practice, safety, and comfort, our path to managing the pandemic as an institution would have been much longer and bumpier.

As a leader on Ronald Reagan's Medicine Intensive Care Unit, Yuhan assisted in the creation of several workflows, protocols, and innovative processes. She stayed late countless nights to provide education, assist in running medications, managing IV pumps, and simply to provide an extra hand. She is constantly participating in bedside care of the sickest COVID+ patients. When presented by bedside nurses with the concept of placing IV pumps outside of COVID+ patient rooms in the ICU, she supported implementation, providing oversight on the novel practice. This resulted in decreased exposure risk for bedside nurses, saved time, relieved a source of staff fear, and empowered nurses to investigate and implement change. This practice was ultimately adopted by the remaining ICUs with COVID+ patients. Throughout the pandemic, she always made herself available as a consultant and educator. She helped nurse leaders and bedside staff feel capable and confident. She collaborated with the Emerging Infectious Disease and Infection Prevention teams to create an EID Champion training course so unit-based representatives at Ronald Reagan and in Santa Monica would all have the knowledge to act as resources in their environments. Her compassion for her patients and their families remained strong through this time. She adjusted the Three Wishes Program to accommodate the lack of visitors and isolation requirements so families would have keepsakes of their loved ones.

Finally, even when it seemed she could not stretch further, Yuhan took on the ICU extension to 6W project. Her efforts were numerous, including using her previous Ebola experience to establish a hot zone plan, suggesting the plastic barrier that was ultimately placed in the unit. She listened to the recommendations of the bedside nurses who staffed this area and advocated for processes and materials to promote safe functionality of the temporary space. Her work was instrumental in allowing the system to learn from this extension space and its application in potential future emergencies. Yuhan exemplifies the values of UCLA Health: Compassion, Respect, Excellence, Integrity, and Teamwork.